Osibisa made its greatest inroads into British and American popularity in the early '70s. By the time of 1974's Osibirock, the band was in transition, moving from one record label to another (this disc was released in the U.S. on Warner Bros. following a long stint on Decca) as musical tastes changed. At first, Osibisa's rock/highlife hybrid was a welcome change of pace from prevailing trends, and Americans whose ears had been opened to world rhythms by Santana's blend of rock with Afro-Cuban jazz heard a similar exotic, danceable music coming from the Ghanian-by-way-of-London band. Much of that appeal is still apparent on Osibirock, especially as the album goes on, although the record starts out with the vocal novelty tune "Who's Got the Paper," which sounds like a typical West Indian party hit. Osibisa was still reaching the U.S. charts, barely, by 1974, but it was about to be swamped by purer native styles on a worldwide basis, particularly Jamaican reggae. Nevertheless, the band's music retains considerable appeal here.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann